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Student Engagement in an Online Course

Student Engagement in an Online Course

Let me state a few assumption based on my experiences and observations:

1. Online Learning will increase since students see availability and time restrictions increasing.

2. Employers will find it more necessary to use online courses/workshops to continue to have current employees become more informed and updated on their skills in the future due to the dramatic changes in technology and needs of customers.

More assumptions and facts could be researched from other points of views, such as teachers, advisers, etc. to confirm or repute what is stated but this is sufficient for this discussion at this moment.

My main purpose/question is to ask how effective is student learning in an online learning environment and how we can improve it?

One theory is that the more students are engaged in their learning, the more retention of information occurs.

If this is true, what student engagement activities are you using that are proven to be effective in student learning where students understand the concepts, apply the concepts and use them to solve the problem, question, issue or purpose?

I would appreciate depth and breadth examples and sharing of ideas to help teachers and our students become more engaged and thus better learners. Thank you, Joe Halter

50 Replies

Hi jhalter‌! I am a complete believer in fully online courses, and have been teaching fully online as my full-time job for many years. I teach writing, so writing is a natural (and more fun than just retention of information): you learn to write by writing... and my students write, blogging, sharing their writing, etc. etc. I've written up some notes here about my experiences teaching online; it's from a couple years ago, but I am even more excited about the possibilities now than when I wrote this. 🙂

Devotedly Digital: Why I Love Teaching Online 

Love, LOVE, LOVE THIS! Can I wrap you up and bring you home to my faculty?

Writing it was very therapeutic! 

I don't know what it's like for others, but I've spent the last 15 years trying to justify online teaching to my colleagues... and basically I've gotten nowhere. Again and again, faculty assume that teaching online is a poor substitute for face to face. 

The students, at least, know better... because they have taken online courses. Sometimes quite a few online courses. So they understand some online courses work really well, some not so well, just like classroom-based classes. And I feel really lucky to have had the chance to be teaching online year after year so that I could really pursue what does work well, at least for me. And like  @kona ‌, for me it's about PROJECTS more than anything else. Instead of me being up at the center of the room (literally and symbolically), online things can all revolve around the students and their projects.

Do you know  @michelle_pacans ‌ and all the fabulous work she has done on "humanizing your online class"... such great stuff! She's writing for EdSurge now, which is getting her a whole new audience: yay!!!

Michelle Pacansky Brock | Edtech Writers on EdSurge 

Timely as always! I was just having some hallway conversations with faculty about the importance of being present in their online courses. I went and followed  @michelle_pacans ‌ on Twitter and found this great article on this topic

Yes yes yes. Michelle is AWESOME. 

She wrote a book about online course design a few years ago and the publisher is bringing out a new edition really soon. It always seems a little strange to me that for learning about online learning people want a printed book... but if that's what they want, then that's what they should have, and very soon they will be able to get a brand-new edition of Michelle's book! Here is the first edition from five years ago:

Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies (Best Practices in Online Teaching and Learni... Fantastic reference on the Michelle Pacansky-Brock book and her blog. The visual is excellent!

Any time you spend exploring Michelle's stuff is well worth it! She is wonderful!!!

laurakgibbs‌ our library at the College has this book and plan to receive it this week. Thanks for the great referral! 

Great post.  Will be sharing with my colleagues!